The nasal septum is the midline partition of the nose, that divides the nasal cavity into a right and a left side.
It is constructed from a skeleton made of cartilage at the front, and bone at the back. This skeleton is covered by the same lining that covers the rest of the nose and sinuses.
Deviations (twists) of the septum can be caused by injuries, but in many cases, patients do not recall any trauma and the septum may have simply become ‘buckled’ during a person’s growth.
Septal deviations can cause a blocked nose and breathing difficulty. Conservative methods of treatment such as steroid sprays and nasal splints are always worth trying first but in many cases, if a patient is troubled by their symptoms, surgery to straighten the septum, or remove the twisted part, is required.
The operation is known as a septoplasty. It usually requires a general anaesthetic and takes about 30-45 minutes. The specific risks with this type of surgery include a septal perforation (hole in the septum), or a change in the shape of the nose (‘saddle deformity’).
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